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The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Jay Elliot , William L. Simon , Christopher Hurt
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Feb 2012
Former Senior Vice President of Apple Computer and close colleague of Steve Jobs throughout his tenure, Jay Elliot takes readers on a tour through Jobs's astonishing career. From the inception of game-changing products like the Apple II and the Macintosh, to his stunning fall from grace, and his rebirth at the helm of Apple as he developed the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, The Steve Jobs Way presents Jobs's leadership challenges and triumphs, showing readers how to apply these principles to their lives and careers. Written with William L. Simon, coauthor of the Jobs biography iCon, The Steve Jobs Way is the "how to be like Steve" book that readers have been waiting for.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Brilliance Corporation; Unabridged edition (14 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455855219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455855216
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 13 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,092,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"[Elliot's] amiable account contains some fascinating nuggets." (The Guardian) "If you are keen to learn what it is that makes this maverick CEO tick, and how you can apply some of that logic to your own company, The Steve Jobs Way is surely worth a look." (Irish Times)" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jay Elliot has more than 30 years operations experience with corporate giants like IBM, Intel, and Apple. He served as the VP of Apple, reporting directly to Steve Jobs. While at Macintosh, he helped Steve develop the Macintosh computer. During his tenure at Apple he created Apple TV and internal employee TV communication system, overseeing growth in sales from $150 million to more than $3 billion. He lives in California. William L. Simon is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including iCon. He is also the author, along with the "world's most infamous hacker" Kevin Mitnick, of the bestsellers The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion. He lives in Los Angeles, California. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Culture! Culture! Culture! 19 Mar 2012
If someone with a pedigree like Jay Elliot decides to detail their experiences at an organisation like Apple, I thought I was in for a treat... and this book did not disappoint!!

For me the best thing about this book is the way Elliot describes how important the culture of the organisation is, whether getting the right people on board, actively cultivating the team culture - whether giving a group a shared identity "let's all be pirates" or the real feeling that "we're all in this together," creating space that encourages informal discussion and cross departmental collaboration, making a point of celebrating product milestones & success, being brave enough to delay a product launch because its not good enough or encouraging employees use (and like) the products they make.

The areas that seem so important to Apple are areas that are hugely overlooked in other organisations. Yet how many organisations can claim that they "Love what they do. Love what they make. And make it to perfection"

I found that some many of the ideas in this book reinforce and provide some vivid examples of the great ideas that authors like Jim Collins, Marshall Goldsmith & Keiran Levis discuss.

If you think that organisational culture is important then get this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Good account of Apple and its leader Steve Jobs by someone who worked with him for many years. A little light on unknown facts, but certainly an honest story about the man and the company. Does not really add much to the aura already surrounding Steve Jobs and Apple. Writing style a little annoying, some words misspelled and a general lack of depth when recounting stories, meetings and discussions. Not sure true Apple or Steve fans would learn anything new or insightful. A lot of self-promotion by Jay Elliot too.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not very objective 16 April 2011
While the story is well-told, the author all too frequently praises Steve Jobs as well as himself. That's rather annoying.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Steve Jobs Way 22 Dec 2011
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
"We're here to put a dent in the universe," said Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer and then chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. Today, all personal computers incorporate a version of the mouse-driven graphical user interface that Jobs perfected and popularized. The guiding spirit behind the Macintosh computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone and iTunes, Jobs is an American corporate legend. Few people worked more closely with him than Jay Elliot, a former senior vice president at Apple. In this business biography, written before Jobs died, Elliot and co-author William L. Simon detail Jobs's corporate achievements, his attention to product detail and his visionary leadership. getAbstract recommends their revealing profile to those compelled by or curious about the genius of Jobs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's Steve Jobs and you're not 22 Mar 2011
By Jeffrey Phillips - Published on
OK, I'll admit it. I am a sucker for anyone who can decipher or decode Steve Jobs. After all, the guy is a repeat Icarus. He has flown too close to the sun not once, not twice, but at least three times and every time has come out better than before. The effect he's had on Apple upon his return has been nothing short of a resurrection followed by a seating at the right hand of the Father.

Jobs is an interesting, mercurial creature, and I often wonder if he is simply one of a kind, a kind of idiot savant who understands how to tap into our wants and needs, and who has an almost messianic vision that we need to follow. Sometimes I suspect that books about him are probably best read to illuminate how different we are from Steve rather than how we can become more like Steve.

I've read several books about Jobs, but in many regards The Steve Jobs Way is probably the best. The subtitle for the book is iLeadership for a New Generation, which is a bit unfortunate, for reasons I've just presented above (I'm not sure we can easily emulate Jobs) and for the hackneyed use of the "i". But Jay Elliott, who was present at the beginning, knows Jobs probably as well as anyone, and gives insights that few can do from the outside looking in. And if the first few pages where Elliott describes how he first got the job with Jobs doesn't hook you, then really nothing will.

Here's the plain, unvarnished truth about what Elliot has to say: Steve Jobs is unlike just about everyone you'll ever meet. After founding Apple and wowing a bunch of venture capitalists and business people, Jobs had visions of a different kind of computer and become a disruption in his own company, and was eventually thrust out (first Icarus moment). Using the funds he received from his stock sale, he purchased Pixar and developed the NexT computer. For a man who is supposedly a marketing genius, he misunderstood Pixar and targeted a tiny university market with a computer that was far too capable and expensive. Fortunately, due to his inability to recognize his failures, he stuck around and funded both long enough for the world to catch up to his technologies. Both Pixar and NexT reached Icarus points of their own, and Jobs had the ability to reach deep into his own pockets to keep them float.

Jobs returned to Apple as an "advisor" to Gil Amelio and supplanted Amelio very shortly afterward. Amelio must have been the only person on the planet who didn't foresee this outcome. Jobs, having learned his lessons from his first stint at Apple and his near failures and spectacular successes with Pixar, determined to trust his vision and turn Apple into a customer experience company that happens to make electronics. And that's where we are today.

The Steve Jobs Way is mostly a biography about Jobs, which I've encapsulated above. Along the way Elliot points out the successes (in great detail) and the failures (in not so much detail). Elliot points out the things we should learn from Jobs, like his passion, his vision, his obsession with detail, his ability to create and share a vision and so forth. Frankly, most of us regular humans would find it hard to mimic Jobs in even one of these attributes, much less pretend to match Jobs in all of these attributes. Layer on top Jobs' first win at Apple which gave him deep pockets and staying power, and very few people can touch his success.

What strikes me most about the short biography is how much I think Jobs learned from his own near failures that he now applies at Apple, including shortening the product offerings, focusing on customer experience and creating a mystique around the Apple brand and Apple products. Jobs knows, and I think increasingly Apple knows, that the expectations are now so high for Apple that one stumble could seriously damage the firm, so every new product must meet Jobs' vision and expectations, which will hopefully outstrip the expectations and needs of the customer base. Frankly, Jobs is in a competitive race by himself. Every other computer and electronics manufacturer has ceded the high ground to Jobs and Apple and are merely hoping they make mistakes.

While it probably won't be a surprise when I tell you this, perhaps the greatest impact Jobs has with Apple is that he is the de facto product manager for the iPad, and the iPod and the iPhone. I can think of no other significant consumer electronics manufacturer where the CEO is so involved in the design and development of the core products. It is his vision and involvement and his passion for the product and the product features and attributes that differentiates Apple.

Some books are proscriptive, they tell you what to learn and what to do based on examples. Some books are descriptive, they tell you a story or describe an event. This is a book that seems to suggest it is a proscriptive book, but ultimately it is a descriptive book. However, it is a great read and perhaps one of the best I've seen about Jobs and what makes him tick. I'm just not sure whether to wish for more Jobs or to acknowledge that only one can exist at a time.

Cross posted from my Innovate on Purpose blog
51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Superficially researched 13 May 2011
By Daniel3000 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not worth the money and time to read this book.

I am an Apple enthusiast and I don't mind reading books that are, let's say, overly in favor of the company and its products. But this book is so overly positive and diplomatic, avoiding any kind of controversial issue, that it's simply not worth reading.

For example Jay Elliots "analysis" of the smartphone market consists in an anecdote of a friend who bought a Motorola Droid that his friend didn't like. And he claims Windows Phone 7 is a total failure, because it does not run Windows Software (Windows Mobile did neither). Therefore, Jay Elliot concludes, the iPhone must the clear winner. It hurts to read this.

Also, he defends the iPhone 4's antennagate issue by explaining that the overlord Steve Jobs was on medical leave during its design and had handed responsibility to some other VP during this time. Obviously, the responible person had been laid off after the incident. What kind of explanation is that? And isn't that just a weakness in Apple's company structure, that everything has to go through Steve's approval process? These are the kind of questions I would like to have seen answered!

The first chapters of the book are a memos of people the author met during his career at Apple. He must have gone through his address book and decided to write a small chapter on every person he met. Obviously, every person was a genius and the best at his field, which is fine, but becomes rather boring to read after a while: "Person X was hired to do Y. Person X is the best on his field. Apple only hires the best people".

Steve Job's secret of success? He's a perfectionist and loves his products -- things I definitely would not have known without reading this book (thank you, Mr. Elliot). The last chapter promises to explain how the "Steve Jobs" leadership style can be adopted to other companies, but fails miserably doing so. The chapter basically contains a couple of anecdotes of a company he founded (which failed), and another startup he is involved in (Nuvel Inc.) doing some sort of acceleration technology (which sounds awfully similar to Google's failed "Google Web Accelerator" product. Good luck with that).

What I really want to know from this book: Is Steve Job's leadership style embedded into the company enough that the company can function even in Steve Job's absence (the keyword here is the "Apple University")? With his medical history, this question becomes vital as ever. During the Scully years (and Steve's absence from the company), Apple almost went bankrupt. But what happens if Steve leaves Apple for good?

The book also fails to mention Jay Elliot's duration of employment. All the current topics are clearly described from an outsider perspective, without any additional insight one would expect from such a book.

Don't buy this book. I suggest you to read "Inside Apple -- From Steve Jobs down to the janitor" from Adam Lashinsky instead. It's only a magazine article (available on the Kindle store for $0.99), but gives you so much more information on Apples organizational structure, Steve's leadership style -- everything this books promises to deliver, but fails to do.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars iLeadership - Three Books in One 8 Mar 2011
By Dan - Published on
I chatted with author Jay Elliot before reading his book. After reading it, I see that Steve Jobs powerfully impacted his former Sr. V.P. You can find my interview with Jay on the Leadership Freak blog.

"The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation," is several books in one.

It's the personal story of staggering success, painful failure, persistent struggle and white hot passion for products. Sometimes it reads like a documentary, at others a soap-opera. In my opinion, Jay presents Steve Jobs as a man of two extremes with no middle. He is an over the top visionary with an obsessive compulsion for every imaginable detail.

Second, it's a brief, selective history of Apple with references to NeXT and Pixar.

Ultimately, it's an insider's explanation of innovative, sometimes excessive, leadership/management practices that propelled Steve Jobs to global celebrity. More than that, practices that enabled Steve to change the way people work, play, consume, and communicate.

iLeadership encompasses four topic areas: product, talent, organization, and marketing. I'll touch on the first two here.


Steve's leadership is motivated by an unquenchable desire to create the simplest, most elegantly functional product that meets customer need. "Every opportunity starts with an unmet need." Beyond that, Steve awakened customers to products and features they didn't even know they needed.

Passion for product, in some cases translates into becoming the product. Jay recounts how Steve became the product in order to energize innovation. His approach impacted everything from packaging to user experience.


I found the talent section most interesting and applicable. Steve made people feel it was a privilege to sell out to the product.

You can be like Steve Jobs if you:

1. Schedule three or four product-focused retreats per year
2. Always look for specifics. Don't accept generalities.
3. Reject smoke-blowers and incompetence.
4. Frequently pause and celebrate.
5. Let best ideas rather than organizational structure controls meetings.
6. Create Stimulating offices that include social gathering places.
7. Hold weekly product review meetings.

There's more to the book but I'll leave that to you to uncover.

I enjoyed the read and recommend it to several audiences: leaders,managers, techno geeks, Apple fans, and those interested in reading about a leader that changed our world through creative technology related products.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read about Jobs 15 Mar 2011
By JunkyardWisdom - Published on
If you like Apple products, admire Steve Jobs, or enjoy "think out of the box" approaches to business, you'll enjoy this book. You'll learn something about Jobs and how he approaches problem solving. But most of all you'll learn how he is consistently a step ahead of everybody else at imagining the future, and then he figures out how to capitalize on that. It's impressive. Perhaps a bit too fawning at times, but that's okay ... Jobs has earned a lot of praise.

You shouldn't expect great leadership insights from this book. Yes, it does cover some curious leadership principals that might be applicable...but for the most part, Jobs is a one of a kind, and attempting to copy him is going to be way over most of our heads. I think a smarter approach with this book is to appreciate his brilliance and vision.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment 14 Jun 2011
By EM - Published on
This book feels like a watered down, reheated version of Guy Kawasaki's The MacIntosh Way. Guy's book, published in 1990, is bursting with passion, ending each chapter with memorable ways to be a pirate and a provocateur. It's full of little details that make you smile, such as the how the Mac team considered installing a washing machine so they'd never have to go home.

By comparison, Elliot's book is as dull to read as a HBS case study. It isn't helped by the fact that he waited 20 years to cash in with his retelling of events--with the help of a co-author. Buying this book won't inspire you to start a tech company or launch that million-dollar iphone app.

Remember that this book is from the guy responsible for operational things including "HR, Facilities, Real Estate."
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